Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Voodoo practitioners shrug off blame for Haitian quake

In a whirl of limbs and with eyes bulging, the woman is helped to a squat in the ramshackle shed and starts cackling maniacally like a terrified chicken."Kaaaa! Ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka," she screams and stutters, her right arm bent in front of her.Around her, the other Voodoo worshippers look on, unsurprised but expectant as their ceremony reaches its climactic mid-point. Someone ties a red cloth to her arm, which stops shaking.In their eyes, she is possessed by a spirit of the dead - one of the 220,000 estimated to have perished in Haiti's January quake perhaps - and is thus, in a way, blessed.When she picks up a rusty knife and swings clockwise around the room, gulping from a bottle of cherry-flavored alcohol, they do not draw away.Instead they embrace her, even kiss her. And in that way they are blessed, too...
Picture Left:Haitian voodoo practitioners bathe in the Souvenance lake in Gonaives,west of Port-au-Prince. Photo: EPA/THONY BELIZAIRE

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